Utah Teens Charged After Business in the Park Turned Aggravated Robbery

Two southern Utah teens were arrested late last month after their questionable business deal in the park turned into aggravated robbery.

“Business”

Photo by: Andy Thrasher

18 year old Jess P. Bozek and 19 year old Angel Isaiah Vazquez-Mendoza were arrested after an individual came forward stating the duo had met him in a quiet park to conduct a business transaction yet instead had robbed him at gunpoint. The victim stated the two demanded the items he had of value on him such as a wallet and drug items and when he challenged their demands, they physically restrained him while threatening him with a gun and knife. Authorities were able to quickly locate Bozek and Vazquez-Mendoza and both were arrested on multiple charges including aggravated robbery.

Aggravated Robbery

Although the victim wasn’t hurt and the gun was claimed to be a fake, two different weapons were used to threaten bodily harm which therefore constituted aggravated robbery. Standard robbery is defined by Utah Code 76-6-301 as when “[a] person unlawfully and intentionally takes or attempts to take person property in the possession of another from his person, or immediate presence, against his will, by means of force or fear, and with a purpose or intent to deprive the person permanently or temporarily of the person property”. Section 76-6-302 of the Utah State Code adds: “A person commits aggravated robbery if in the course of committing robbery, he:

(a) Uses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon . . . ;
(b) Causes serious bodily injury upon another; or
(c) Takes or attempts to take an operable motor vehicle.”

Five to life

Both boys who are legally adults but who appear to be still immensely naive when it comes to common sense are facing serious charges for their business deal gone awry. Standard robbery is a second degree felony while aggravated robbery is a first degree felony. The 18 and 19 year old could be facing five years to life in prison for their mistake. For more information on felony charges as they pertain to juveniles and young adults, contact a criminal defense attorney who has experience working with clients of all ages.

Two Arrested For “Inside Job” Robbery of Phone Store in Utah

Two individuals including an 18 year old from Las Vegas were arrested for an ‘inside job’ robbery of a phone store in Hurricane, Utah.

Prepaid phones and cash

Photo by: Cat

18 year old Jakob Grogan of Las Vegas, Nevada entered a Metro PCS phone store in Hurricane, Utah and stole phones and cash while pointing a gun at the person working in the store. After Grogan fled the scene, the store attendant called police and was able to give an accurate description of the suspect. That description later led to his arrest of the robbery suspect and the store attendant.

Smooth criminals

Police patrolling the streets of a nearby town in southern Utah pulled over a vehicle for a traffic violation and discovered the suspect, Grogan sitting in the passenger seat of the car. Officers were able to match Grogan to the very detailed description given by the phone store employee who just so happened to be the driver of the car Grogan was a passenger in. Both robbery suspect and robbery victim were arrested.

Two arrested, reduced charges

18 year old Grogan was originally facing several charges including armed robbery which is a first degree felony until it was determined that the victim was actually an accomplice to the crime. Following that knowledge, the charges against Grogan were all reduced. He now faces one third degree felony for possession of a firearm by a restricted person along with a handful of misdemeanor charges. The victim/accomplice was arrested for three class A misdemeanors including obstruction of justice.

Group of Teens Suspected of Robbery in Southern Utah

A group of teens are suspected of robbery in southern Utah after the group physically attacked a man in his apartment, leaving with over two grand worth of items.

Return with criminal intent

The teens in question had been at the apartment previously and had allegedly returned to collect personal belongings. When they arrived back at the apartment the next day, they were said to be in possession of a firearm. Another resident at the apartment not present during the incident stated that the group had physically assaulted another man and threatened him with a gun before stealing several expensive items from the property.

Robbery vs armed robbery

The investigation into the robbery is still in progress and at this time police have not verified whether or not a firearm was used in the incident. Authorities do have names of the teens involved yet more information on formal charges should be forthcoming. The legal penalties for robbery are severe, yet the teens involved could face charges that are increased even more if the use of a firearm is proven. Utah Code 76-6-301 states: “A person commits robbery if:

(a) The person unlawfully and intentionally takes or attempts to take personal property in the possession of another from his person, or immediate presence, against his will, by means of force or fear, and with a purpose or intent to deprive the person permanently or temporarily of the personal property; or

(b) The person intentionally or knowingly uses force or fear of immediate force against another in the course of committing a theft or wrongful appropriation. “

Robbery is a second degree felony. If teens are found to have used a firearm during the course of the robbery or “cause[d] serious bodily injury upon another . . . “ as noted in section 76-6-302 of the Utah State Code, the charges would then be increased to aggravated robbery or armed robbery, a first degree felony.

Items of little worth

The motive for the robbery is unknown – whether or not the teens were getting back at another person for a transgression or if the teens simply wanted to gain possession of the stolen items. Regardless, revenge or the monetary value of the stolen items in the robbery are of little worth compared to the possibility of lengthy prison terms and fines up to $10,000 if the teens are tried as adults. For more information on felony charges for teens and how the legal system works regarding juvenile crime, contact a criminal defense attorney who handles cases involving teens or adults.

Differences between Juvenile Court and Adult Court in Utah

When a teenager in Utah is charged with a crime, it can be handled by either the juvenile court or the adult court and it is important to know the differences between the two.

Juvenile court

Juvenile Court or Adult Court
Photo by: State Farm

Although the juvenile court handles cases of criminal activity by minors, it is a civil court where the goal is not to punish kids but to teach and rehabilitate them while also ensuring that they are not a danger to the community. Utah Code 78A-6-102 states: “The purpose of the [juvenile] court is to:

(a) promote public safety and individual accountability by the imposition of appropriate sanctions on persons who have committed acts in violation of law;

(b) order appropriate measures to promote guidance and control, preferably in the minor’s own home, as an aid in the prevention of future unlawful conduct and the development of responsible citizenship;

(c) where appropriate, order rehabilitation, reeducation, and treatment for persons who have committed acts bringing them within the court’s jurisdiction;

(d) adjudicate matters that relate to minors who are beyond parental or adult control and to establish appropriate authority over these minors by means of placement and control orders;

(e) adjudicate matters that relate to abused, neglected, and dependent children and to provide care and protection for minors by placement, protection, and custody orders;

(f) remove a minor from parental custody only where the minor’s safety or welfare, or the public safety, may not otherwise be adequately safeguarded; and

(g) consistent with the ends of justice, act in the best interests of the minor in all cases and preserve and strengthen family ties.”

Adult criminal court

If a teenager is charged with a felony listed under Utah’s Serious Youth Offender Act (78A-6-7), their case can be transferred to adult court where they can face serious repercussions including hefty fines and lengthy imprisonment. Offenses that are included in the Serious Youth Offender Act include:

• aggravated cases of arson;
• assault;
• kidnapping;
• burglary;
• robbery; and
• sexual assault; as well as
• felony discharge of a firearm;
• attempted aggravated murder; or
• attempted murder; or
• any subsequent offense involving the use of a dangerous weapon;

Juvenile defense attorney

Unfortunately in adult court, it is less lenient that juvenile court and those facing adult criminal charges should expect their sentencing to include more punishment without so much focus on education and rehabilitation. Additionally, once a case goes to adult court, those records which include the juvenile’s name are released to the public. For these reasons, it is imperative that juveniles and their parents and/or guardians seek counsel from a criminal defense attorney who has dealings with both the juvenile court as well as the adult court, and who will try diligently to keep all cases against minors within the juvenile court jurisdiction.

Three Utah Juveniles Arrested Following Gas Station Aggravated Robbery

Three Utah juveniles were arrested following an early morning aggravated robbery of a gas station where the clerk was shot multiple times.

Unnecessary escalation

Aggravated Robbery
Photo by: Chris Heald

The three juveniles who have not been named nor had their ages released were arrested for aggravated robbery after then allegedly entered an Exxon gas station in the early morning hours of January 23rd, 2017, emptied the contents of the cash register, and shot the clerk twice; once in the wrist and once in the upper leg. A family member of the victim who is recovering after multiple surgeries said the victim stated that the suspects became frustrated when the clerk could only offer them the money in the till, not in the vault for which he had no access. Pictures taken from the security camera of the store showed the robbery taking place as well as identifying the teen who pulled the trigger on the clerk.

Aggravated Robbery

Utah Code 76-6-302 defines aggravated robbery as when a person, “in the course of committing robbery, he: uses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon ( . . . ); causes serious bodily injury upon another; or takes or attempts to take an operable motor vehicle. Aggravated robbery is a first degree felony” and punishable with a fine as high as $10,000 and a possible prison term of five years to life in prison.

Minimal cash for life in prison

Photo by: majuznk
Photo by: majuznk

Most gas stations and other convenience stores keep a maximum of $100 in the register, which is why they discourage accepting large bills which would deplete their ability to make change. This is especially true at night when management is not available to open the vault, and regular employees are not privy to the combination to open it. Aggravated robbery of a gas station is literally trading life in prison for pocket change.

Adult charges may be pending

When a juvenile is charges with a first degree felony, there is a great possibility they may be charged as an adult. Defendants in this position are encouraged to counsel with a defense attorney who handles all defense cases, both in juvenile and adult (district) court.